Mike Huckabee: Everyone’s First Choice for VP on the GOP Ticket

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huckabee vp the washington note.jpg
There’s a story that would be less disturbing if not true that George H.W. Bush asked a number of close advisers to send him their lists of who should be on his ticket as VP. Dan Quayle — for whom Bill Kristol was chief of staff — was No. 2 on most of these lists.
If Romney or McCain or Giuliani were to win the GOP nomination, the name that would come in first on most of those lists is Mike Huckabee. Some in the Republican camp are pushing Chuck Hagel as a partner for Romney if he wins the nod — and I actually think that would be an excellent pairing, but most odds makers would favor Huckabee.
And as Krauthammer writes today:

Mike Huckabee is not going to be president. The loss in South Carolina, one of the most highly evangelical states in the union, made that plain. With a ceiling of 14 percent among nonevangelical Republicans, Huckabee’s base is simply too narrow.
But his was not a rise and then a fall. He came from nowhere to establish himself as the voice of an important national constituency. Huckabee will continue to matter, and might even carry enough remaining Southern states to wield considerable influence at a fractured Republican convention.

Huckabee as a pre-9/11, pre-Cheney VP would not be that worrisome to me, but the nature and powers of the Vice Presidency have changed and thus the decision about who holds that power matters more than it ever did before in American history.
There is much about Huckabee that makes me feel uncomfortable. I’m not into faith-based politics.
That said, there’s a pragmatic current running in him that few — including me — have paid much attention to, and perhaps that needs to be revisited.
Huckabee is getting counsel from people like JIm Pinkerton and Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations. But Frank Gaffney, one of the co-governors of American neoconservatism, is also an adviser.
I should point out that while Huckabee has stated that he consults with Richard Haass — I have not heard Richard Haass, who is a friend, publicly state that he endorses Huckabee. Haass is President of the Council on Foreign Relations, a non-partisan non-profit organization, and could easily be offering his expertise to any or all of the candidates on an egalitarian basis much like my New America Foundation colleagues and I try and do. But still, I hope that people like Haass have some real impact on Governor Huckabee. I have also not heard from Frank Gaffney that he has endorsed Huckabee. (Update: Just saw this — so Frank Gaffney, like John Bolton may be off the list.)
The challenge this creates for people who care about smart national security and foreign policy decision-making is whether to simply rail at those who have features in their profile we don’t like — or alternatively, to see the candidates as franchises, or as schizophrenic enterprises, with some personalities around the candidate in the dominant position and others subordinate.
George W. Bush has always had realists around him, but they were subordinate and buried beneath the dominance of neoconservatives and pugnacious nationalists for much of his tenure.
If Huckabee increasingly looks like he has a lock on the Vice Presidency — which is the way things are looking to me at this early stage — then many will have to work to fix the realists in a dominant position around him and to curb the influence of international messianic crusaders who will also be part of the Huckabee mix.

— Steve Clemons

Comments

23 comments on “Mike Huckabee: Everyone’s First Choice for VP on the GOP Ticket

  1. Robert Nolin says:

    SurveyUSA Polling this week in states like MA, OR, OH, KS, NE, and NM shows voters prefer Huckabee as VP. Join the Huckabee for VP team!
    Come and visit us at http://TeamHuck.com

    Reply

  2. p boxerpaws sarver says:

    Unfair attacks on Huckabee.You ppl don’t give him the credit he deserves and evidently you don’t know the man very well.
    He’s an excellent choice. And no i am not an evangelical which is going to be your next accusation.
    Want to know why? Just ask.I’ll be glad to tell you.

    Reply

  3. Linda Rayborn says:

    Sad that the smear job Romney did paying Club For Growth to distort Huckabee’s fiscal record is believed by those who don’t do any checking themselves. Huck balanced the budget every yr. (10) and left an 850M$ surplus in Ark. Time Mag. named him one of the best govs. in the US and one of the reasons stated was that he grew the state’s economy aobve natn’l. average. Truth be told, he did just fine fiscally. Another sign that he is an economic whiz is that he got more delegates per $ spent during his campaign than any candidate. By comparison, Romney ran a fiscally reckless campaign loaning himself 42M$ and quitting while he was millions and millons of dollars in the red! Doesn’t make me very confident about his expertise in economics if he can’t even balance his campaign checkbook. All that aside, the vp has absolutely nothing to do with the economy. That would be a cabinet position. VP does break ties in the senate and we need Huck’s conservative vote. Wonder how Romney would vote? Always changing his opinion. Not very dependable. Also, vp should be a good communicator. That is Mike Huckabee. Helps if he actually likes and respects the president he works for. Huckabee does like and respect McCain.

    Reply

  4. GR says:

    It seems that this truely is a ‘comment’ based section and NOT a article or document discussion based upon 90% of the replies.
    I thank the couple people who actually read multiple publications and have some sense of what is actually going on in the world. One thing we DO NOT need are people swinging from their periphial vines beating their chests and moking situations, people groups or organizations. Just a little professional word of advice…it gets you NO where!! Act your age and drink a cup of coffee.
    As for you Steve, I love your unprecidented comment above in your article, “I’m not into faith-based politics”:
    a. Take a History Class on America!
    b. When you take that class…read the
    everything! Don’t ommit the parts that
    show a FAITH-BASED group of settlers
    whom wanted to have the ‘freedom’ to
    worship the one-true God and not the
    Monarch of England.
    c. Oh yea…don’t forget all the documents
    that this Once Great Nations Senate and
    House started each session with
    ‘Prayer’! –did you know that?
    –Iam curious, because you find docs,
    paintings and transcripts that show
    that prayer was the first thing our
    political elect did prior to EVERY
    meeting!
    d. Oh Iam sorry, did I insult someones
    feelings because they choose not to
    truely understand where our GREAT
    Country Comes from?
    –read the ‘money’ YOU USE EVERY DAY!
    –“In God We Trust!”
    Hello!
    So, is that faith based politics then?
    Curious tell me …does that offend you?
    You know….maybe we should have thought prior to taking prayer out of school or removing moralistic items like the 10 commandments to which gave a simple core value of morals to children. Read your history documents and read the percentages! Once this was done within the next 10 years we have had the worst items occuring to our children in this country. Now…our children have NO morals and NOT taught moralistic ideals that show respect to your fellow man. I guess that is why we mut install metal detectors into our school systems now…huh…interesting insn’t it.
    I could write for days and days as well as pull out document information that would prove so many things up and down the walls around you sitting in your room….But that WOULDN’T matter…Cause YOU are PART of the Problem NOT ALL the politicians…you help put the spin on the problem!
    So, basically your story is that Huckabee would be a bad VP due to what? You gave NO REAL substantial information or documentation….Just some empty words.
    I wonder….I would think someone whom served as a Governor and help to oversee as well as plan one of the Best assistance this country has ever seen when his State that he was Governor of went into action during Katrina helpless! He was able to make more of an effect for those people, business and Federal Agencies than any other form of Government was able to in the timeframe it was done in.
    But….that doesn’t matter does it?
    An emergency response to one of the greatest catastrophies in America has no bearing upon a political qualificaiton….or the stability of a person’s vigor in and effort to balance a State Budget better than it’s entire history?
    Please.
    Oh, and a little note for all those above that ‘think’ evelution actually happened….hehe.
    –Tell me, where did the spec or the so called original organism get created from? …hence the word used is created still in the actual documents. A clue…..’no one knows’! There is some great facts for ya! hehe.
    By the way..Darwin..actually wrote a book prior to dying and specifically said that HE WAS WRONG! Wow…yet you all belive it and the man that originally thought of this stated and documented that HE WAS WRONG! Ever research that? Do some research and find out these facts prior to saying something about a situation that you have no true knowledge of please and try to keep on subject.

    Reply

  5. American says:

    Petition Huckabee for VP
    http://www.huckabeeforvp.net/
    GO HUCKABEE!

    Reply

  6. Citizen Deux says:

    If ole Huckster is on the VP ticket, I am voting democrat. Dear lord above, deliver us from your “faithful”
    His weaknesses are all too plain, save for the paranoid and besotted GOP voters in the south. Was his victory in Georgia a race / religion vote versus any legitimate endorsement?

    Reply

  7. temoc94 says:

    Huckabee would be a terrible, terrible choice.
    Any of the GOP candidates will have to tack to the center once the primaries are over. Putting someone on the ticket who believes in creation science, thinks AIDS victims should be quarantined, has little sense of economics and even less on national security, would not be the way to convince me that the top guy on the ticket is really a moderate.

    Reply

  8. TonyForesta says:

    Forgive my ignorance, Steve but please explain this assertion: –
    “The challenge this creates for people who care about smart national security and foreign policy decision-making is whether to simply rail at those who have features in their profile we don’t like — or alternatively, to see the candidates as franchises, or as schizophrenic enterprises, with some personalities around the candidate in the dominant position and others subordinate”
    McCain and Huckabee are aligned with the fascists. McCain owing to the pentagon and intelligance apparatus uniformed and contracted, and Huckabee beholden to the dominionist, evangelical fundamentalist christain cults, klans, cabals, churches, and flocks of mindless truebeliever minions forming the bulwark of the contemporary republican party and socalled conservative movement. One will hoist unknown uknown costs in blood and treasure onto our children obdurately committing America to a hundred year commitment to Iraq. Who in America benefits in any way from this insane policy? The other supports the flying of the confederate flag in a state capitol, and the mangling of the constitution to the imagined (forgive me while I laugh my ass off) infallibility of the Bible and some fundamentalistchristian perversion of some freakish vengeful wrathful god.
    If there is a goddess,…
    “Deliver us from evil!”

    Reply

  9. TonyForesta says:

    Forgive my ignorance, Steve but please explain this assertion: –
    “The challenge this creates for people who care about smart national security and foreign policy decision-making is whether to simply rail at those who have features in their profile we don’t like — or alternatively, to see the candidates as franchises, or as schizophrenic enterprises, with some personalities around the candidate in the dominant position and others subordinate”
    McCain and Huckabee are aligned with the fascists. McCain owing to the pentagon and intelligance apparatus uniformed and contracted, and Huckabee beholden to the dominionist, evangelical fundamentalist christain cults, klans, cabals, churches, and flocks of mindless truebeliever minions forming the bulwark of the contemporary republican party and socalled conservative movement. One will hoist unknown uknown costs in blood and treasure onto our children obdurately committing America to a hundred year commitment to Iraq. Who in America benefits in any way from this insane policy? The other supports the flying of the confederate flag in a state capitol, and the mangling of the constitution to the imagined (forgive me while I laugh my ass off) infallibility of the Bible and some fundamentalistchristian perversion of some freakish vengeful wrathful god.
    If there is a goddess,…
    “Deliver us from evil!”

    Reply

  10. Jackson Williams says:

    Steve Clemons writes approvingly of the “pragmatic current running in” Mike Huckabee and says that if the Huckster is to be VP, then “many will have to work to fix the realists in a dominant position around him and to curb the influence of international messianic crusaders who will also be part of the Huckabee mix.”
    Curb the messianic influence? Steve, Huck’s an evangelical Baptist preacher. Have the drugs kicked in, or is it just too many years inside the D.C. beltway?
    The Republican base has now sunk into the religious conservative southern part of the U.S. We saw that in the 2006 midterms. Liberal/moderate Republicans lost in the northeast, in Virginia, in states up and down the Mississippi, and westward.
    The l’affair Schiavo from 2005 wasn’t an anomaly. The circus surrounding her death, the attempt to inject the government into that private family matter, was the result of a political party wedded to “messianic crusades.” Former Senator John Danforth, Republican and ordained Episcopal priest, writes cogently about what has happened to his political party in the recent book “Faith and Politics,” and it ain’t that pretty at all (as the late Warren Zevon put it.)
    Don’t be fooled by Huckabee’s populist rhetoric, his tales of single mothers trying to get by. George W. also ran on compassionate conservatism. He was the guy the beltway boys said we wanted to have a beer with….just as Huckabee today cribs the same notion when he says “I want to remind you of the guy you work beside, not the guy who laid you off.”
    Don’t be fooled by a pleasant demeanor, clever lines in stump speeches. Huck’s a loon. A likable loon, à la Gomer Pyle, but a loon who thinks Armageddon may have started, denies evolution, wants biblical creation taught in schools, thinks wives should submit to husbands in decision-making….I could go on.
    Any attempt to thoughtfully address Huck’s good points is an attempt that denies his broader beliefs.
    We don’t need more of that…not in a complicated 21st century!

    Reply

  11. dahreese says:

    Oh, Lord! Not Hagel!

    Reply

  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Cool, a guy that believes T-Rex was tipping over Adam and Eve’s trash cans might be our next VP.
    Maybe we oughta strip all these candidates naked, and make sure they don’t have any weird markings. Either that, or we could invite Chavez up to give ’em all the sniff test.

    Reply

  13. Will S. says:

    Steve,
    The reality is that the next President is not going to make the mistake of ceding that much power and influence to their VP. It will be a cold day in hell before there’s a repeat of VP Cheney. Moreover, the key to realists finding positions in any administration is the aid of more powerful realists elevating them. Frankly, I don’t see that happening…When was the last time that Kissinger, Baker or Scowcroft ever lifted a finger to do anything for realists? Kissinger supported the Iraq war and has publicly endorsed McCain. Why? Because as the uberrealist he’s in the business of making money, not of fighting this civil war. As for Baker, well, with all due respect, his stealing of Anatol Lieven’s and John Hulsman’s ethical realism doesn’t really give me much faith that he’s going to help either. The problem is Steve that in many cases Realists are the primary cause of our own demise. Unlike the neocons they don’t care to do the things that are necessary to reestablishing the doctrine.
    On the democratic end, of which you are far more familiar, do you really think that guys like Dick Holbrooke or some of the Brookings crew (Daalder and O’Hanlon come to mind), are going to allow realists a prominent position in either a Clinton or Obama admin?
    I’m sorry to be so negative about this, but with the exception of Senator Hagel, I haven’t seen many high level realists do anything for the next generation.

    Reply

  14. Crab Nebula says:

    Huck as VP? Not at all, Steve.
    McCain or Romney would need to go very hard to the right in a pick for VP to make up for shortcomings. Huckabee has the religious credential, but definitely NOT the fiscal credential. McCain and Romney desperately need both.
    It’ll be somebody like a young Governor or an “old hand” like Danforth (who didn’t want it last time, he’s just an example)

    Reply

  15. Carroll says:

    Does it matter? They are all crazy.
    Besides, events in the world and ME are running ahead much faster than this election. By the time anyone is elected there will be a whole new set of even bigger questions and dangerous choices.

    Reply

  16. Dave Huntsman says:

    Arr-squared. Sorry to shock you. My affinity for Chuck Hagel is pretty well known on the blog. I’m politically, an Independent and registered as such. I don’t give my vote automatically to either party and thus have high standards for what I think is important in a leader… and as I’ve written many times, Chuck Hagel in national security/foreign policy terms is the kind of person I want — and if Hillary, Obama, McCain, or Romney would start taking Hagel’s approach — I’d be able to make up my mind faster on this election.
    Best to you — and I know you see it differently.
    more soon,
    Steve

    Reply

  17. SHAZAM !! says:

    McCain/Huckabee, the dream ticket in the Republican nightmare. All bases are covered in the Republican electorate except the wealthy establishment, who will have no choice in the voting booth. McCain/Huckabee secures the yahoo Republican masses they always need. And if McCain dies in office in one of his famed fits of rage (divine intervention), Huckabee is the prime choice to console the nation. Then as president, a presidency handed to him by God’s will, he can do the work that God has commanded him to do. Thus sayeth the Lord!

    Reply

  18. Arr-squared says:

    Wow, Steve…you _actually_ think CHUCK HAGEL would be a great choice for VP. I am well and truly shocked.

    Reply

  19. Dave Huntsman says:

    Like Steve I admire Chuck Hagel; but I don’t see how he helps getting eg McCain elected in 2008. Both are Senate foreign policy heavyweights etc. And I don’t know how Hagel is as a campaigner.
    What would really liven up the campaign is if McCain chose a Bloomberg et al. The right-wing anti-abortionaists wouldn’t like it; but, then again, he’d only be in the VP slot, not the President slot. Against a Hillary or Obama, McCain would still get most of those votes, easily. But Bloomberg would appeal to an entire ‘nother voting bloc; would easily add ‘change’ to McCain’s ticket; and adds both the economic, local government, and analytical mindset gravitas that a McCain Administration would need.
    The biggest question is, would Blomberg accept a non-number one role? I think he could – under the proper circumstances. I can see Bloomberg and McCain pairing-up in government like Gore and Clinton; where Gore really was a strong VP who oversaw whole Agencies (including the one I work in). I can easily see a President McCain deferring – or at least taking very, very seriously – advice from Bloomberg on all those things McCain has never had any interest in: details of economic policy; municipal issues, education issues, health issues; and even science issues. (After all, it was in his speech at John Hopkins 18 (?) months ago that Bloomberg – not any of the Republican candidates – specifically hit-out at the anti-science policies of this Administration ….while he was still a Republican.
    Bloomberg would be a good Deputy President for all those things, to a McCain who would be open-minded enough – and, otherwise, not interested enough – to let him be.

    Reply

  20. Dave Huntsman says:

    Like Steve I admire Chuck Hagel; but I don’t see how he helps getting eg McCain elected in 2008. Both are Senate foreign policy heavyweights etc. And I don’t know how Hagel is as a campaigner.
    What would really liven up the campaign is if McCain chose a Bloomberg et al. The right-wing anti-abortionaists wouldn’t like it; but, then again, he’d only be in the VP slot, not the President slot. Against a Hillary or Obama, McCain would still get most of those votes, easily. But Bloomberg would appeal to an entire ‘nother voting bloc; would easily add ‘change’ to McCain’s ticket; and adds both the economic, local government, and analytical mindset gravitas that a McCain Administration would need.
    The biggest question is, would Blomberg accept a non-number one role? I think he could – under the proper circumstances. I can see Bloomberg and McCain pairing-up in government like Gore and Clinton; where Gore really was a strong VP who oversaw whole Agencies (including the one I work in). I can easily see a President McCain deferring – or at least taking very, very seriously – advice from Bloomberg on all those things McCain has never had any interest in: details of economic policy; munipal issues, education issues, health issues; an deven science issues. (After all, it was in his speech at John Hopkins 18 (?) months ago that Bloomberg – not any of the Republican candidates – specifically hit-out at the anti-science policies of this Administration ….while he was still a Republican.
    Bloomberg would be a good Deputy President for all those things, to a McCain who would be open-minded enough – and, otherwise, not interested enough – to let him be.

    Reply

  21. Nobcentral says:

    Well, whatever advising he is getting, it isn’t helping since he somehow believes that Iraq’s WMDs were sent to Jordan, a US ally.
    What scares me most about Huckabee, aside from his (un)”fair” tax and his complete and total lack of anything resembling foreign policy knowledge is that the next VP will recieve the powers that Dick Cheney has installed. Meaning that some of his insanity could make its way to policy.

    Reply

  22. Dan says:

    Steve,
    Huckabee as VP? The guy who thinks that the phantom WMDs in Iraq went to Jordan!?!?
    I think that if McCain is the nominee, he will take on Fred Thompson as his VP. I think Fred Thompson stuck it out through South Carolina specifically to siphon off some of the evangelical vote from Huckabee so that McCain would win South Carolina. And I think McCain will reward Thompson with a VP slot. That takes care of the evangelical vote for McCain.
    I don’t know who Romney would pick as the VP. I highly doubt he would pick one of the men he competed with. They don’t like Romney very much. I highly doubt they would want to work with him.

    Reply

  23. Dan says:

    Steve,
    Huckabee as VP? The guy who thinks that the phantom WMDs in Iraq went to Jordan!?!?
    I think that if McCain is the nominee, he will take on Fred Thompson as his VP. I think Fred Thompson stuck it out through South Carolina specifically to siphon off some of the evangelical vote from Huckabee so that McCain would win South Carolina. And I think McCain will reward Thompson with a VP slot. That takes care of the evangelical vote for McCain.
    I don’t know who Romney would pick as the VP. I highly doubt he would pick one of the men he competed with. They don’t like Romney very much. I highly doubt they would want to work with him.

    Reply

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